Back to IndieWire

Cannes 2012: Lee Daniels’ Nasty ‘Paperboy’ Reviews In A Poem

Cannes 2012: Lee Daniels' Nasty 'Paperboy' Reviews In A Poem

Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy” has arrived at Cannes, and it’s receiving quite a reception. With stars like Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey and Macy Gray, it was always going to get attention. But critics are having a field day with the movie’s pulpy content. Our Cannes review of the film is here, and Indiewire reports on responses to its early screening for buyers. Below, we’ve turned the glorious words of Indiewire, ThePlaylist, Variety, THR, Pajiba, The Guardian and The Telegraph’s reviews into a poem. Enjoy…


Swampy, Southern, sweaty, socially divided and sex-mad summer


laughable images

a dead porcupine, bloated with rot in the sun

you cannot spoil what’s already rancid


working his abs

sweaty and luxuriant

A dead possum

for symbolism, and stuff

Lurid, florid, humid, flaccid and insipid

Down and dirty

grungy exploitation melodrama

appealingly rough and rasty texture

a tale of murder, idealistic journalism, warped sexual desires

gloriously grubby

A half-naked


risibly overheated

Southern pulp trash

sticky, sweaty atmosphere of delirium and sexual frustration

only partly excuses

the woozy ineptitude

In the summer of ’69

An aging sexpot with a prison fetish

A vision in hot-pink lipstick

deliciously tacky

a woman of strange, even telekinetic talents

Crazy Southern gothic

bathed in blood, sweat, urine, mud and crocodile guts

possessed by the spirits

of blaxploitation

and “Baywatch”

Serious commitment to outright silliness

A hypersexualized cartoon

stench will always linger

on the filmographies of everyone involved

Craptastic work of


A heady, humid swamp fever rises

gripping, scary and queasily funny picture

a dark threat which lurks like one of its gators just below the surface

A blowsy, sexy and very unstable woman

a romantic

sheer auto-erotic potency of that sweaty, dangerous criminal


the sad, motherless boy

A calamitous failure

a haggard old dog

morally questionable and smug

a dud through and through

summer so hot that


must walk around

in tiny white briefs

gay interracial BDSM sex

results in the loss of an eye, Nicole Kidman peeing on Efron’s face

You leave the cinema

feeling almost overwhelmed

by the badness.


filmed adoringly

kitted out in the manner of a gay 70s pornstar

Strictly without merit

a laughable potboiler

sorry, limp, bedraggled mess

so bad it’s bad

Transcendentally awful

In the grand scheme

of dogs’ dinners

The Paperboy is a ten course canine tasting menu

with wine pairings.

Accidentally bad or deliberately camp

To find favour only amongst

connoisseurs of tat

Steams straight past authenticity

into the realms of bad pastiche

“If anyone is going to piss on that boy,

it’s going to be me.”

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Reviews and tagged , , , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox